copyright © Jedo Dre 2011
Fargo is a good movie with a specific style but it will undoubtedly leave a few viewers disappointed.
There are principally 3 faults with the movie, all 3 of which are story related:
1. Fargo opens with the following text: " THIS IS A TRUE STORY. The events depicted in this film took place in Minnesota in 1987. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred."
This is a lie. Definitely in the way this sentence comes over, this is a lie. It becomes evident as you watch the events unfold that they are not a realistic retelling of any specific crime story. The text comes right at the beginning and, as such, sticks in your memory. The directors knowingly put this lie into the movie and it feels insulting.
2. Unresolved plot lines. The main plot is that a guy is conducting several different kinds of illicit activities because he desperately and urgently needs a lot of money. It is never explained why. Sorry, but letting the viewer out of the most important question in the story is both cruel and unprofessional. There is also another more minor point that never gets resolved though the resolution is hinted at.
3. The general lack of impact. Despite some fairly violent events occurring, this movie feels very low key and rather slow. It is part of its style and seems to have purpose, but you must be aware that this movie takes its time and for some that time may not amount to that much in the end, especially considering points 1 and 2. When the film ended, it felt more like I just saw an episode of a show rather than an entire movie.
Despite these flaws, the story is interesting. It was fun to see the continuously worsening situation of the criminals and the calm and appealing investigation by the protagonist.
The movie has a particular style in both the visual presentation and story. The events take place in the winter in the north of the US and the outside is a world of desaturated cold white. It is starkly contrasted by the warm cozy lives of the common people inside the warm houses, with the warm food and the warm friendly feelings. This is also contrasted with the cold dealings of the criminals and their world of misery.
At first it feels at first like the world of those criminals is full of intrigue while the life of the main protagonist Marge is mundane and small, but as the movie progresses, the proceedings of the criminals become full of misery and very petty in comparison with the apparently small lives of others. Fargo feels at times warm and cuddly, other times cold and disturbing.
Fargo has a unique soundtrack. It is built on a slow tune of strings, a lot of it in medium to lower register, with slow and deep base drum beats in the background and some high pitch percussion. It has a folksy and meditative feel to it. When some sort of action happens, the music either goes quiet or continues with a grave tension but never becomes fast. It sounds quite different from your average movie soundtrack.
The performances are great, all of them. William H. Macy plays the desperate car salesman and this guy makes his character looks so skittish, with his nervous smile and the shaking head and the stuttering. He does a near flawless job. Frances McDormand, as the protagonist policewoman received the many nominations for her performance. She has previously played a mom and the role of a homely family woman suits her well and she does indeed deliver a very pleasant humorous performance. Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare are the criminals, as is often the case and they are fun too. Peter is a guy who is just naturally extremely unnerving. In this movie he does not talk much or move his facial features. His lifeless expression and composure are just naturally terrifying and the scary impression he gives gets completely justified when he suddenly does something really violent.
There is a small complaint about the dialogue. While it is generally entertaining , there seems to be a strange mockery going on as the characters keep saying "ya" a lot, which is "yeah" spoken in the northern accent. I cannot figure out if this is supposed to be joke or just poking fun at the Northerners, but it does get annoying after a while.
Fargo feels different than your average film. It is a bit slow but it is a sweet coherent and interesting movie. This movie makes you feel warm inside, despite its violent content.
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